Within the last 30 years the network of former cultural houses and clubs of the Soviet period has been trimmed down. In general, these centres of culture have been privatized and only a small number have preserved their main profile; the institutions of culture (clubs, centres and houses of culture) that are accountable to the local bodies of administration and self-government have legal NGO-status although they receive state-municipal financing.
Unfortunately, no statistical data is available as these cultural houses and clubs were always under the control of the regional or municipal authorities, which provide no detailed reports on cultural data.
Public art creation is a priority in Georgia. Accordingly, this is reflected in the strategy, programmes, etc.
The strategic areas of the Culture Strategy 2025, approved in 2016, include “Access to Culture and Cultural Diversity”
Goal: Culture is accessible to all members of the society and the freedom of cultural expression is safeguarded.
2.1.Objective: Culture is made accessible to all, including the communities in mountainous regions, municipalities adjacent to the state borders, occupied territories and across the dividing lines of occupied territories.
2.2.Objective: All members of the society, including vulnerable groups, youth and minorities are actively engaged in cultural life and have access to cultural infrastructure and resources.
The Ministry of Culture supports the amateur arts and people’s creativity via programmes, for instance in relation to support for young artists and folklore.
The amateur arts in Georgia are divided into two groups: a) folklore and b) all other art-forms. There is a strong affection among the population for folk songs and dances in which Georgians hold great pride. The culture of preservation, study and development of folklore in Georgia has been raised to the professional level. Moreover, the Georgian vocal polyphony of folksongs and carols is regarded as important at the international level. Consequently, many villages and towns have their own folk ensembles, which reflects the diversity of Georgian music folklore and, on the other hand, supports continued interest in the training of young people in this field. Large ensembles often have groups for young people where the future generations of singers are encouraged. Folklore ensembles are also popular among the national minorities.
The government support in this area is high and is being implemented through the National Folklore Centre (created in 2004). The Centre is commissioned with and devoted to restoration and demonstration of the present vital ethnic culture and life. The main mission of the Centre is to research, preserve, develop and popularize the non-material cultural heritage. The Centre implements the state folklore policy nationwide and promotes the restoration of broken ties between the villages, regions, districts and the central authorities.
For systematization and quality enhancement of the folklore activity in Georgia, a study of the creative level of active folk collectives and the creation of a database was commenced through Certification of Folklore Ensembles in 2011. The archive of the State Folklore Centre was created.
The State Folklore Centre carries out strategic projects:
- 2007-2009 -The project “Computerization of Archive Records and Georgian Collection of Wax Cylinders” provided the transfer of unique Georgian folk songs stored in the record library of the National Central Archive of Georgia to digital format.
- 2007-2010-The project “Folklore Expeditions in the Regions of Georgia and In Artvin Region of the Republic of Turkey”
- 2007-2010 -Master classes for choreographers and Georgian folk song performers.
- The educational booklet “Georgian Folk Song and Performance” was also produced.
The festival – “Art-Gen” has been held annually since 2003 and its main purpose is promoting samples of folklore and various old traditions, folk handicraft in the regions of Georgia and widening knowledge among the general public.
The crafts sector is not as widely developed. In comparison with the performing arts, the craft field requires special programmes of support for preservation and maintenance. This is especially important against the background of the critical socio-economic situation in the countryside where ceramics, carpet weaving, embroidery etc. are practised.
All other types of amateur arts are less popular than folklore and are mainly urban based. Recently, groups for teenagers in large cities have become more involved in modern genres of amateur art related to new technologies and social development – multimedia, graffiti, e-music. This subculture is still developing and does not receive state support, though some municipal initiatives related to mass culture deal with this type of amateur art, although only in the performing arts.
There are 5 legal entities of public law in the field of folklore. The staff employed in these organizations totals 346 persons, with the average salary of 797 GEL.
The state budget expenditure in the field of folklore amounted to:
In 2015 – 4 203 968 GEL;
in 2016 – 3 970 000 GEL.
In 2021 – 378 000 GEL. (State programme “Support of Georgia Folk”)
State support has decreased greatly since 2020.
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